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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 530 pages of information about La Vende.

As might be supposed, Jacques spent the evening with Annot Stein, at least it was his intention to have done so; but he had been so leading a person in the day’s transactions that he also was besieged by the villagers, and was hardly able to whisper a word into his sweetheart’s ear.  There he sat, however, very busy and supremely happy in the smith’s kitchen, with a pipe in his mouth and a bottle of wine before him.  The old smith sat opposite to him, while the two young men stood among a lot of others round the little table, and Annot bustled in and out of the room, now going close enough up to her lover to enable him. to pinch her elbow unseen by her father, and then leaning against the dresser, and listening to his military eloquence.

“And so, my friend,” said Chapeau, “Jean and Peter are not to go to Saumur?”

“Not a foot, Chapeau,” said the old man, “not a foot, Chapeau; let ye fight, we will make swords for you:  is not that fair, neighbour?”

“I have nothing to say against it, M. Stein, not a word; only such fellows as they, they would surely get promoted.”

“Oh, ay; you will all be sergeants, no doubt.  I have nothing to say against that; only none of mine shall go waging wars in distant lands.”

“Distant lands, say you! is not Saumur in Anjou? and is not Anjou within three miles of you, here where you are sitting?”

“May be so, M. Chapeau; but still, with your leave, I say Saumur is distant.  Can you get there in one day from here?”

“Why no, not in one day.”

“Nor in two?”

“Why, no again; though they might do it in two.  They’ll start from here Monday morning with light, and they’ll reach Saumur on Wednesday in time to look about them, and learn what they have to do the next morning.”

“That’s three day’s going, and three coming, and heaven only knows how many days there; and you don’t call that distant!  Who’s to feed them all I’d like to know?”

“Feed them!” said Chapeau.  “I wish you could see all the bullocks and the wine at Durbelliere; they’ll have rations like fighting-cocks.  I only pray that too much good living make them not lazy.”

“Were I a man,” said Annot, as she put on the table a fresh bottle of wine, which she had just brought in from the little inn, “were I a man, as I would I were, I would go, whether or no.”

“Would you, minx,” said the father; “it’s well for you that your petticoats keep you at home.”

“Don’t be too sure of her, Michael Stein,” said Paul Rouel, the keeper of the inn; “she’ll marry a soldier yet before the wars are over.”

“Let her do as her mother did before her, and marry an honest tradesman; that is, if she can find one to take her.”

“Find one!” said Annot, “if I can’t get a husband without finding one, indeed, I’m sure I’ll not fash myself with seeking:  let him find me that wants me.”

“And it wont be the first that finds you either, that’ll be allowed to take to you, will it Annot?” said the innkeeper.

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